WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Servers
While they have plenty of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all differ in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as an entire, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is essential to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a various approach. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wpengine Servers
I have actually used WP Engine for different tasks given that 2012. I do not use them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying customer or specialist to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their discount pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Wpengine Servers
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, but the general rule is that the more intricate your site is, the more complex the solutions to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a few fundamental plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with an affordable shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally extra plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
However a sluggish site does not imply that you require a larger, much better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, however in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might just need to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to stay quickly as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … but either you or a developer must execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually tailored servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common web host. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and recognize the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Wpengine Servers
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin loading the page.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right out of package, and have it stay that method no matter how big or intricate the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are free to concentrate on speed elements that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an integrated CDN, however they also offer worldwide data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Servers
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Servers
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult aspect of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever know if the story is since they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I prefer to look for access, systems, and understanding, all three require a financial investment of cash, time and know-how.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing far better striking all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the website via chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually communicated with really understood the fine operations of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to expertly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after a number of concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Servers
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,specifically due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). However they appear to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security essentials are relatively straightforward:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that although security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something happens. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a great deal of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have assisted customers who have been. It’s aggravating, laborious & an usually expensive scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Wpengine Servers
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both which enable more storage & more check outs (ie, basically as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time fixing problems.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wpengine Servers
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first client type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing basic site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at having to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is an essential factor, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a start-up site owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on introducing a near-complete website at one time.
They don’t have any prior practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make guarantees and provide support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this review revision. Wpengine Servers
WP Engine excels not only on present functions however also on developing brand-new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new developer features that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually changed drastically because I began observing the market *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web advancement to integrate best practices into implementation & tasks with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous stand since they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some customers. I do not use them for this website since I do not require a lot of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Servers
All that said, here are a few of the larger image drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be quite complicated– specifically if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they also do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the special backend can result in some designers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site open to the public or just not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they already do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the general user. Wpengine Servers
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to watch that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a big offer (when you surpass the learning curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website lists to help repair all sorts of problems.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And in many cases, support will just take care of everything.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wpengine Servers
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or really real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin habits for good reasons, but those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured enables less flexibility too. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise costly to pay based on a number of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to aspect extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your site requires numerous plugins for full performance.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t actually do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for performance & not having to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Wpengine Servers
Many shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned previously that does not even consist of much of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot use them to expand the cost of your plan,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are looking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a costly choice, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest overall, however what is finest for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a great service with a strong product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to fret about hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see what you consider their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more freedom/ much better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer care.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Wpengine Servers